WEST LIBERTY – After 25+ years in business, West Liberty Foods has outgrown its current facility and plans to build a massive new plant here, while its existing facility’s land will go to the city for future development.
Those plans were confirmed May 4 by area economic development officials.
The new facility, which will take about 18 months to build, is projected to cost about $100 million. The facility will be about 200,000 square feet and company officials are currently looking over several 25-acre sites for the new plant in and near West Liberty, according to the Muscatine Journal.
It is not known when construction might begin or when the new plant will be completed.
“This is very exciting,” Ken Brooks, executive director of the West Liberty Economic Area Development (WeLead), told the QCBJ. “This is going to be transformational for the entire region.”
Mr. Brooks added that he is especially excited about the project for three reasons:
- A new West Liberty Foods facility will bring a modern, state-of-the-art plant to the community.
- About 200 new jobs will be created. The plant now employs about 900 workers.
- The current West Liberty Foods plant – which sits on about 20 acres – will eventually be transformed into new commercial and residential development projects for the community.
The West Liberty Foods plans were made public at the West Liberty City Council meeting on May 3. At that meeting, the council gave approval for the company to seek a $10 million expansion program grant from the USDA to help offset the cost of the project.
West Liberty Foods officials on May 4 told the QCBJ that the company could not give out information on the project at this time. The company plans to issue a news release on the project in the near future, the company added.
Brian Melhus, general counsel for West Liberty Foods, was not available for comment on Wednesday.
The new West Liberty plant facility has been in the works for about 10 years.
West Liberty Foods is a leading co-packer, private label manufacturer, and foodservice supplier of sliced deli meats, and fully cooked products. The company raises about 5 million turkeys every year.
In addition to its original facility in West Liberty, the company operates a state-of-the-art slicing center in Mount Pleasant and has expanded with new facilities in Illinois and Utah, according to its website.